Beyonce & the New Niggerati

Fitts Ward, Mako. “Queen Bey and the New Niggerati: Ethics of Individualism in the Appropriation of Black Radicalism”, Black Camera, Vol. 9, No. 1 (Fall 2017), pp. 146-163:


This essay explores the contributions of Beyoncé to what I call “the New Niggerati,” a cadre of Black cultural producers engineering American popular culture. Their promotion of individual economic improvement is a discursive shift in Black music, a “dap” to advanced capitalism. Beyoncé’s hegemonic power to move the culture places her at the apex of the New Niggerati. With the simultaneity of her privilege and a perceived Black southern realism, she represents a new frontier for Black feminist cultural studies. I examine a selection of her work to demonstrate the complicated nature of her manipulations of protest iconography within an apparatus of capital designed to suppress revolutionary consciousness. Beyoncé’s fetishized Black feminist radicalism has transformed the politics of social movements into a set of commodities that ultimately sustain her personal empire.

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